While the Giants’ defensive implosion against the Los Angeles Rams is the story of the week (as well it should be), the offense did show some signs of life early in last Sunday’s blow out loss.
This week’s match-up pits one of the league’s worst offenses against one of its worst (and most injured) defenses. Who will win in the battle of the resistable force against the movable object?
By the numbers
Passing Yards - 212.5 (20th)
Rushing Yards - 86.8 (27th)
Total Yards - 299.2 (29th)
Points - 16.1 (29th)
Passing Yards - 244.8 (23rd)
Rushing Yards - 135.7 (32nd)
Total Yards - 380.4 (27th)
Points - 26.6 (31st)
Protect Eli Manning
This is a consideration going in to every match-up.
But while the 49ers are struggling to find a win, they aren’t without talent on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants might get a bit lucky and have edge rushers Aaron Lynch and Solomon Thomas (who has three times been nominated for Defensive Rookie Of The Week) inactive. Likewise, lineman Arik Armstead is out with a broken hand.
However, that still leaves lineman DeForest Buckner to deal with. Buckner isn’t getting much press, but the big, long lineman is sixth in the NFL on pressure rate among interior lineman. The Giants just dealt with Aaron Donald, so anyone is a step down in difficulty, but the 6’7,” 300-pound Buckner might pose a problem for Brett Jones, who is about half a foot shorter.
Pressure up the middle is the quickest way to destroy a quarterback’s mechanics, so the Giants will need to pay attention to Buckner.
Who will run the ball?
The Giants have to continue to run the ball, that much is a given.
With Brett Jones and D.J. Fluker securing the starting center and right guard jobs, the Giants have rediscovered their long dormant running game. It should also be said that handing the ball off to a combination of Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman has certainly helped matters, as well. Both players straight-ahead running styles mesh well with the Giants’ blocking scheme and they have consistently moved the ball.
The Giants should continue to give them the bulk of the carries. However, Paul Perkins is once again healthy, and it will be interesting to see how his presence impacts the dynamic. Will the Giants look to add his slippery running style back to their offense or will they stick with the duo of Darkwa and Gallman?
Engram vs. Reuben Foster
One of the battles to watch could be between former SEC foes and first-round picks. While injury concerns forced Foster’s draft stock down, and he has been dealing with injuries throughout his rookie season, he is still a remarkably talented linebacker. Foster consistently flashed on a highly talented Alabama defense, using his athleticism to play the run and roam the middle of the field in coverage.
Thanks to injuries, he hasn’t seen the field much his rookie season, but getting on the field against the Arizona Cardinals, he was credited with eight defensive stops by Pro Football Focus, and has yet to miss a tackle or allow a touchdown in coverage this season.
He could well be asked to cover Evan Engram, the Giants’ tight end who is on his way to a historic rookie season. Considering that Engram is one of the Giants’ few remaining offensive weapons, this match-up could be pivotal.